Ruturaj Gaikwad announced as CSK captain after MS Dhoni steps down

Ruturaj Gaikwad has been announced as the new CSK captain, marking the end of MS Dhoni's outstanding leadership era. 

The change comes a day before the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 season, where CSK, the defending champions, are set to face Royal Challengers Bengaluru at Chepauk.

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Ruturaj Gaikwad the new CSK captain

MS Dhoni, the legendary cricketer whose captaincy turned CSK into one of the most formidable teams in IPL history, has handed over the reins to Gaikwad. 

Dhoni's captaincy journey with CSK began in 2008 and, barring a brief period in 2022 when Ravindra Jadeja led the team, has been synonymous with the team's success and ethos. However, after Jadeja stepped down mid-season in 2022, Dhoni reassumed leadership and propelled the team to its fifth IPL victory in 2023.

CSK captain Ruturaj Gaikwad
Photo by Icon Sport

Dhoni, who retired from international cricket after the 2019 World Cup, had hinted that the 2023 season could be his last in the IPL. Despite battling a knee injury throughout the season, he led CSK to equal Mumbai Indians' record of five titles. 

Post-season, the 42-year-old underwent knee surgery but remained involved with the team, joining CSK’s pre-season camp earlier this month.

Under Dhoni's leadership, CSK has not only clinched five IPL titles but also two Champions League T20 titles, making him one of the most successful captains in the history of T20 cricket. His record with CSK — leading them in 235 out of 249 games across all competitions — stands as a testament to his enduring legacy and leadership qualities.

Ruturaj Gaikwad, the new captain, steps into some big shoes. At 27, he has been one of CSK's most consistent performers since his standout 2021 season, where he was the leading run-scorer. 

With 1,797 runs from 52 matches, Gaikwad has been a key player for CSK and is seen as a vital part of India's cricketing future. His leadership will be crucial in guiding CSK through the upcoming season, especially in the absence of his regular opening partner, Devon Conway, due to injury.

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Gaikwad's immediate challenges include navigating the team through the opening matches without Conway and establishing his own style of leadership while building on Dhoni's legacy. As CSK enters a new chapter, all eyes will be on Gaikwad to see if he can carry forward the winning culture instilled by Dhoni and steer the team to continued success.

Dhoni moving on from captaincy also raises questions about his role in the upcoming season. He was batting in the lower middle-order and lower-order mostly in IPL 2023 and this season, it is likely that he may not even play all games. Last year, Dhoni had said that he would only retire in front of the Chepauk fans at home in Chennai. So, it’s very likely that this season will be the last of Dhoni in CSK colours as a player. 


Rohit is an experienced cricket writer based in India